Where Does Beef Come From?

Where Does Beef Come From

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Mutton, beef, and chickens are the few terms we use for meat. Chicken has a breathtakingly different flavor and texture, but mutton and beef are a bit hard to distinguishable.

Surprisingly despite being told a hundred times, we keep forgetting what beef and mutton are? And where do beef and mutton come from? Mutton is a bit easier to remember(at least for me) as it comes from mature ram or ewe.

Where does beef comes from is an interesting topic, as for some it comes from cattle whereas others believe it comes from cows.

It’s the 21st century, this confusion really needs to end.

This question might have been answered several times, it just might not be satisfactory enough that we are still in the need to know.

Just because the confusion about where beef actually comes from needs to end, here is the satisfactory answer:

Where Does Beef Come From?

So, the meat (we like referring to as beef) that contains a noticeable amount of saturated fats comes from cattle.

There is a misunderstanding going around for decades that beef comes from only one animal; cows. Beef does come from cows but it is better to say beef comes from cattle.

The word “cattle” is a broad term that includes cows, bulls, oxen, or calves. The cow is the most common domestic/farm animal.

The term “cow” is used for adult females, the baby cows are referred to as heifers. In the simplest words, the bull is a term we use for adult male cows.

Oxen or bullock is a castrated adult male cow.

The male cows are castrated to get more docile and safer to work with animals.

The Calf is a term developed for young bulls under the age of one.

So, when a cow, calf(they are rarely slaughtered), bull, or ox is slaughtered, the meat that is collected from them is called “beef”.

So, it is more appropriate to say that the beef comes from cows, bulls, oxen, or calves.

Everything else you need to know

So, the question we all get to hear at some point in our life is answered. Here’s what else deserves to be communicated as well.

Most beef comes from castrated males; oxen

Though, cows, bulls, and oxen are all good beef producers. Cows are usually not slaughtered(until they are useless) as they reproduce and produce milk.

Bulls are also not preferred for eating. The bulls are rarely slaughtered as they perform the typical bull duties and are used for breeding.

So, the most beef that comes in the market is from the castrated males; oxen. Castration is a process in which the animal’s teats are removed.

It can be surgical, hormonal, or chemical castration. Whatever the way is used, the animal ends up losing its teats.

It’s just not that the cows and bulls are hardly slaughtered because they have other duties.


The meat of the castrated male is more in demand. It is preferred for a variety of reasons; tenderness, marbling, and flavorful.

For all fair reasons, most beef comes from a castrated animal called an ox.

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Packed meat available in the market might be from oxen

Well, it must be clear to you first that the beef collected from cows, bulls, calves, and oxen are not the same.

The calf’s beef is tender, pale-colored, and has a subtle taste. The oxen’s beef is tender and well-marbled.

The bull’s beef is leaner, tougher, and has a strong beef flavor. The cow’s beef can be tougher if the cow is old.

It has an impressive fat content. So, if we are given a chance to determine where do our beef comes from, we would look for our preferences.

If one demands tender meat with a subtle taste, we would choose to get beef from calves, if one is into well-marbled tender beef, he would choose to collect it from oxen, if one finds beef with strong beefy flavor better, he would prefer getting it from cow or uncastrated male; bulls. So, if we had control over where our beef comes from why would we not be considering our preferences?


Mutton and beef are the two most confusing terms. Despite the fact that the two are an integral part of several hundred dishes.

Mutton is the least confusing of these two, as it only comes from mature ram and ewe. The beef, to be honest, confuses us the most.

The meat lovers kept questioning where exactly it comes from whether it is from cattle or cows? The appropriate answer to this question is that it comes from cattle. Cattle is a widely used term that includes cows, bulls, oxen, and calves.

So, the beef comes from cows, bulls, oxen, and calves as well. The most beef available in the market comes from castrated males called oxen.

It’s because the meat of a castrated animal is well-marbled, tender, and flavorful.

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